Friday, July 2, 2010

Getting Into Character: The ESFP (Extravert, Sensor, Feeler, Perceiver)

Today we continue our look at the sixteen specific types and we are down to the last four. Can you believe it? This is going to be so fun, because even if this is not your particular label, more than likely you will recognize someone you know and love revealed on the page. I need to let you know that this is NOT a professional opinion or blog—I’m just teaching you what I've learned over more than ten years of studying personality.

I’m not going to repeat my description of the dominant preferences and such, but if you haven’t been following along, go back and read the beginning of the first week’s post, which you will find under the April archives (The ESTP). I’ve highlighted the part you need to read in green, so you can easily catch up.

Last week we looked at the ESFJ's, our lovely friends, family, and neighbors that make us all feel welcome. This week we will change it up by switching the last letter and meet the ESFPs. You probably have one or two friends with this label because they are known for being fun and friendly.

Living Life with an ESFP: Friendly to everyone, ESFPs usually have a wealth of friends and acquaintances. They give of their time and talents willingly and add a zest and enthusiasm to everything they involve themselves in doing. Truly people-focused, ESFPs understand themselves and their beliefs and values and want to understand those things about the people in their life. They are optimistic, energetic, and choose to look past the flaws and focus instead on the positive qualities in people. ESFPs generally like life, live it exuberantly, and they bring joy to the people they encounter.
Career/Service Area Choices for an ESFP: ESFPs will enjoy work or service opportunities that allow them to assist others with tangible acts. Adept at using their own time and talents, they also succeed in helping others to work in their own areas of expertise. ESFPs enjoy planning and helping with socials and they will gravitate to jobs and volunteer positions that allow them to express this in their daily activities. Often you will find ESFPs working and serving with youth, young adults, or in sports/action-oriented jobs and ministries. Because of the same desire to plan, help, and socialize, you might find them working with the sick or the elderly. Some careers and occupations ESFPs might gravitate toward are: childcare, coaching, supervisor roles, religious educator, receptionist/assistant, respiratory therapist, recreation worker, researcher, homemaker, or entrepreneur.
Free Time for an ESFP: ESFPs love being active and and social and you will find them involved in things such as sports, crafts, or just hanging out with friends. Whatever they are doing, chances are it will include other people. If they participate in solitary activities like TV watching or reading, they often get extremely involved with the characters almost as if they were real people, and they like to discuss the episode or book with others. Friends are important the them and they have many because people are drawn to their fun-loving and friendly ways. ESFPs are known to be practical jokers, so watch out or they will try to pull one over on you!
Warnings for the ESFP: Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing, so here are some things ESFPs need to beware of: While they are natural people-pleasers, ESFPs run the risk of trying to please everyone, all the time, and never making anyone truly happy, including themselves. They need to determine their own needs and not try so hard to keep the peace that they let them go unattended. ESFPs often wear many hats and balance can become a problem for them. Their tendency to be spontaneous and their lack of planning for the future can be a problem when they prioritize by what comes to mind first rather than what is most important or most pressing. ESFPs enjoy people so much that this can get them in trouble. They often don't act if it means they must do it alone. They need to learn to have confidence in their ability to do things well and alone if necessary. They also spend so much time socializing that they don't take of things at work or home that need to be done.
Spiritual Helps for the ESFP: ESFPs looking to engage more in their spiritual journey will likely enjoy engaging directly with people also on the journey. ESFPs like to discuss and process what they are learning with other people. That said, ESFPs will also enjoy personal or group retreats for relaxation, rejuvenation, and fellowship. ESFPs prefer group devotions and study time to going it alone. They also seek to see the tangible examples of God in their daily life. ESFPs prefer to consider both the positive and negative sides of a spiritual life and need to focus on building their faith. Often growth in faith can get neglected in their pursuit of spontaneity. ESFPs also like to use all their senses to appreciate and discover God.

What Others Say about the ESFP: Are you beginning to see yourself of someone you love on this page? If so, you know that they (or you) are playful, easy-going, enthusiastic, and friendly. Relationship-oriented, ESFPs are cooperative, vivacious, talkative, warm, and fun. They bring enjoyment to everyone they meet, are informal and comfortable to be around. Everyone needs (and probably has) at least one ESFP in their life!
Okay, who do you know that is an ESFP? Let me hear from you if you are!

Next week, we change a couple of the letters and look at our friend the ISFJ. See you then!

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